Student Senate creates COVID-19 Economic Relief fund


Selena Favela

SGA Treasurer Colleen Hand Ostermann and Student Body President Kitrina Miller listen to a question from At-Large Senator Vanessa Teran about the proposed student fees budget during the SGA meeting on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

A $10,000 fund created by the Wichita State Student Government Association will now go towards scholarships for students who find themselves in financial need after being furloughed, laid off, or put out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association passed the bill to create this fund at last week’s meeting, which was held via Zoom.

SGA Treasurer Colleen Ostermann was the one who authored the bill for the fund. Ostermann told The Sunflower that the decision to create this fund was in the works during the beginning of the global pandemic. 

“Pretty early on in the whole crisis . . . the president and vice president and myself were concerned about student workers and what was going to happen to them,” Ostermann said. “We were looking into options for trying to figure out how to help them if the university closed.”

Ostermann said that the university suggested the fund to SGA.

“[SGA] had already sort of talked about numbers,” Ostermann said. “When [the university] came. . . to us to ask about potentially contributing to a scholarship it was pretty easy to transfer that over.

“I won’t take credit for the scholarship or anything like that, because that was the university’s doing. Just. . . figuring out how to allocate the money was a pretty simple step, I guess.”

Ostermann said everyone in SGA understands the difficulties that student workers are currently facing. 

“We’re all students, so we all know how difficult it is for everyone right now,” Ostermann said.

The scholarship fund is being handled through the Financial Aid Office along with the COVID-19 emergency fund that was set up by the university foundation. 

“We’re adding to a scholarship fund that the university set up for students who have been furloughed or lost their jobs,” Ostermann said. 

Ostermann said students who believe they could benefit from the scholarship should request an application from the Financial Aid Office.

“I know that the application is open but for the details for what they need for the application, [students] are going to need to talk to a financial aid advisor,” Ostermann said. 

“It is pretty simple to fill out and it is open to any student who wants to apply for it.”

“There aren’t currently any restrictions on it.”

Ostermann said that if anyone has questions about the act, they can email her at [email protected]